The Department of Health said on Sunday it will conduct the second phase of its vaccination drive against other infectious diseases, even as the agency prepares for the rollout of the COVID-19 inoculation program.
DOH Undersecretary Dr. Myrna Cabotaje, in a Dobol B sa News TV interview, said the department will implement the second phase of their measles and polio vaccination program next month in areas in Region III, Calabarzon, the National Capital Region, Regions VI, VII, and VIII.
Cabotaje also stressed the importance of vaccination against other infectious diseases such as polio and measles that are usually contracted by young children.
DOH eyes vaccinating 4.7 million children against polio, and 5.1 million children against measles, for this round, she said.
Cabotaje is aware that a vaccine against COVID-19 is what the public seeks the most at this time, but this should not make vaccines against other infectious diseases less important.
Like the spread of COVID-19, Cabotaje said an outbreak of measles and polio can be prevented through herd immunity, which can be achieved if a significant number in a population is vaccinated.
Considering that children below 10 years are still not allowed to leave their homes, Cabotaje said the DOH would bring the vaccines to the children, either through barangay health stations or a vaccination site near their homes.
In February 2019, the Department of Health declared a measles outbreak in Metro Manila with a notable 550 percent increase in patients contracting the virus from January 1 to February 6 that year.
Later that year, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III acknowledged the reemergence of polio in the Philippines nearly 20 years after the country was declared free from the disease.
Immunization efforts have since been launched to prevent the further spread of measles and polio in the country.